Well, when we started the Whole30 (which turned into the Whole31 for us due to a cheat on the part of 6 year-old member of our family whom we shall not name here…we all got a day added to our challenge because we are a team) I planned to blog all our meals. Many others have done the same, and it is so helpful to look through those ideas when you are attempting to come up with meals outside your norm. However, all five kids had the stomach flu two weeks ago, followed by bad colds, and then this weekend we got round two of the stomach flu…only this time it did not spare the adults. So, we are just rising from the ashes of that small trial, and oh how I wanted a piece of toast or some rice during those moments. But we had broth, and chicken soup, and my mother-in-law brought us some carbonated water and juice, which hit the spot! But pictures and updates of food- ain’t nobody got time for that when you have the flu.
However, being sick so much during the month of January- the only time in our lives when we didn’t eat a lick of processed foods- certainly got us thinking about food and why we eat the way we do. It isn’t for the sake of long life; God already has our days numbered and we can’t add or take away from that. It IS for the purpose of being more productive for the Kingdom, which would hint at a better quality of life on a day-to-day basis. If I ate whatever I wanted it would leave me incapable of taking care of my family or doing any work for the Kingdom. I’d be on the couch 24/7 (when I wasn’t eating ice cream and bread) zoned out. If I fed two of my children in particular whatever they wanted, they would be sick all the time and probably completely out of control; sugar and wheat make one daughter turn into a raving madwoman (madgirl?). All this thinking reminded me of this sweet post I read a while back from Kimi Harris of the Nourishing Gourmet, after her mother-in-law, Sono Harris died of colon cancer.
Most of the foods we craved this last month weren’t actually BAD foods. That isn’t shocking, since we already ate a largely whole foods diet anyway (but there were so many “exceptions” that it was starting to get out of hand). We wanted butter, and cream, and rice and oats. And the boys dreamed about bread. 🙂 So that was heartening, because unless we figure out that any of those particular foods are a problem for us, we will add them back in. This next week is a “re-entry” week where we will introduce a food group, and then rest for a day, then introduce a new food group, and rest. We will do that all week and note (times seven of us!) if anything is causing problems…bowel, stomach, headaches, congestion, etc. I do think that both the boys had more energy and complained less about being tired, but I didn’t notice a surge of energy like I had hoped (and like most report). I think having so much sickness running around may have played a part in that. One small benefit: one of our girls has had a nosebleed at least once a week for the last nine months. They lasted a long time and she was becoming anemic due to the loss of blood. She didn’t have one nosebleed all month, so I’m watching to see if we introduce a food back and we notice those pesky nosebleeds return.
Two days ago (before the flu hit) I made the kids get on the scale and everyone was pretty much at the same weight…which was good- some of my kids are already skinny and losing weight would be bad. Thomas lost 1/2 pound, and I lost two pounds. We learned the importance of eating lots of fat- so valuable if you don’t want to be hungry an hour after a meal!- and as Adeline said, “We’ve eaten more vegetables and meat in one week than we used to eat in a whole month!” It’s true…when I went to the store my cart was pretty much just veggies (since we have eggs and meat here).
We had some other goals during this time: Scripture memory, which we mostly accomplished memorizing Ephesians chapter 4 as a family, but fizzled out these last few days, and we totally remodeled a bathroom in preparation for putting our house on the market.
So, would I do it again? I hope there’s no need to! This time around we needed to give everyone’s gut a “break” from all the irritating foods, and one of my kids did a candida cleanse to help with a yeast issue. I am VERY thankful to Warren for leading us in this. I would have given up about halfway through. We needed to do it, and it DID break us from the habit of eating some foods I’d like to ditch permanently (cereal, crackers, pretzels, etc.). It also helped us to create new patterns of snacking and redefine “treats.” My kids took turns picking a special fruit each week for date night, and they really enjoyed it. We enjoyed our fruit a lot more, too (although not as much as chocolate truffles…just being honest).
After this next week of evaluating is over, we will probably stick to eating sugar-free and processed food-free as a way of life, with the exception of Sundays, which are feast days and we love to celebrate. 🙂 But if we truly don’t have that stuff the rest of the week, I think one out of seven is a great compromise.
So there you have it…the Whole30 x7 in a nutshell.